There were push-downs, but no push-ups.
During the Tigers' first workout of spring training Tuesday, manager Jim Leyland instructed a group of pitchers on how to field a ball -- such as a bunt -- after it had come to a stop.
"Push it down into the ground," Leyland commanded, demonstrating the technique on a practice field. "That way you are sure you have it. If you rush to pick it up, you might drop it."
These drills took place, as always, after pitchers limbered up in supervised exercises. They didn't do push-ups or anything else you might recognize from junior-high gym class.
Leyland, in his 50th year in spring training, recalled the way pitchers used to get loosened up in training camp: "15 jumping jacks, play catch and let's go."
He added: "They do stuff now that makes me hurt just watching it."
After everyone warmed up, Bruce Rondon pushed the ball to the plate at upward of 100 miles per hour.
Half the pitchers in camp threw off bullpen mounds. (The other half will today.) Rondon, the rookie right-hander the Tigers want to become their closer, pitched to two catchers.
First he threw to Bryan Holaday, who caught him in the minors. Then he threw to starting catcher Alex Avila.
After the workout, each catcher emphasized a point general manager Dave Dombrowski has made: Rondon isn't a one-pitch closer. He has more than the 100-m.p.h. fastball. He has a slider and change-up that can produce outs. He has three above-average pitches.
Tigers' Alex Avila, after bullpen session: Bruce Rondon pitching arsenal 'as advertised'
Detroit Free Press | Feb 13